Annual Reports of the Directors to Shareholders and Statements of Revenue and Capital Accounts
and Reports of Proceedings at Shareholder Meetings.
A collection of annual reports to shareholders transcribed to hypertext files, one for each railway company and each year,
augmented with the text of the proceedings at shareholder meetings.(1)
Financial and statistical data published in the reports are duplicated as time series in spreadsheet files.
An extensive record of London Stock Exchange quotations is appended to every spreadsheet file.
Besides information that interested investors, the annual reports provide much information about works carried out in various parts of the country, the climate, pests, the development of agriculture, animal husbandry and other production in the areas served, tariff and commercial policy of the firm, foreign trade, exchange, money and banking, public finances, and relations of railway companies with governments, etc.
The proceedings of meetings are of interest insofar as the chairmen's speeches provide accounts of the general economic and political situation and of the development of the land area served in explanation of the changing fortunes of the companies. Moreover, much is revealed in speeches and discussion about the commercial policy of the companies.
The collection consists of over 2,600 files, one each for a financial year of a railway company, containing one or more, or all of the following: the directors' annual report to shareholders, the report for the first half-year, and proceedings of ordinary and extraordinary meetings held up to and including the presentation of the final report. When the original report is unavailable, a summary published in a financial journal is substituted for it. Some press reports and internal, unpublished documents are appended. The period covered is 1860 to 1946 and going beyond 1947 up to last liquidation payment.
Not counting short news reports, the contents of the files are:
2,850 articles or pamphlets containing
1,434 directors' reports to shareholders,
898 proceedings of ordinary shareholders' meetings, counting also the adjourned meetings,
283 proceedings of extraordinary meetings,
197 circulars, letters, short notices, etc., and
38 advertisements of initial public offerings.
linked to other files, pictures, and biographies of persons mentioned in the reports and proceedings.(2) See a list of companies.
Libraries consulted: London Stock Exchange; London Guildhall; London School of Economics; University College, London; American Association of Railroads; Fundación Museo Ferroviario; Harvard University Baker Library; National Railway Museum (Buenos Aires); Northwestern University Transportation Library; Stanford University; University of Illinois (Urbana); Centre des archives du monde du travail.
1. Transcription to text files was made because the directors' report for 1898 and the corresponding report of proceedings at the annual meeting of the Buenos Ayres and Pacific Railway, for example, take up 14 MB as a graphic facsimile but only 250 kilobytes as a text file, in spite of the formatting codes in numerous, large tables.